Book Review: The Anatomy of Cheating by Nesly Clerge (published by Clerge Books)
This psychological thriller tells the story of Chelsea Hall, a stay at home mother whose husband, Garrett, is a successful radiologist and a serial cheater. He has a string of women but denies this to his wife. Chelsea, in her desperation for love, starts a relationship with Luke, a struggling author, who is married. The action unfolds as Chelsea discovers Garrett’s affairs, and then Garrett, in turn, uncovers some nasty secrets and the web of deceit comes crashing down around them.
This was well written, quite pacey (although I found the 176 rapid-fire, one-minute chapters frustrating after a while as they broke my reading flow) and I can understand why many readers would enjoy it. However, it wasn’t for me.
The book opens with a book reading and discussion with a counsellor / psychiatrist / doctor in human psychology turned author who has written a book called The Anatomy of Cheating. This immediately caught my attention, as I was expecting some kind of deep dive into the mind of cheaters where the nerve endings are warped which causes infidelity (I totally made that up, but wouldn’t that be interesting!), or a discovery that their physical anatomy is different somehow to non-cheaters, or some kind of sciencey analysis, or new ‘findings’, or something intriguing along those lines. But there was nothing like that – and the next time we meet the doctor author, she’s Chelsea’s shrink.
Instead, this novel focuses solely on people cheating, people talking about cheating, people cheating some more, people thinking about cheating, people dealing with the aftermath of cheating. Seriously, there is no respite. The characters don’t talk about anything else or do anything else, apart from near the end when all the sh*t hits the fan. The brief moment when Chelsea’s daughter gets in trouble at school and the dialogue is about this rather than cheating was like a breath of fresh air! Even when Chelsea and Luke are getting to know each other, the dialogue is skipped for a brief summary line that says something like ‘they talked about all sorts’ and then we go back to the dialogue when they start talking about cheating again.
I didn’t relate to any character – Chelsea whinged about Garrett non-stop but stayed with him for the money and for her daughter’s sake. And then at the end is all lovey dovey about her despicable husband?! Garrett was a scumbag. Luke seemed nice, but still cheated on his wife, and then did something completely unexpected and unbelievable. Penelope was a bitch. Luke’s mate was a cheating scumbag too. Garrett’s sister was a lazy cow who scrounged off her brothers (at least at the start). Garrett’s brother seemed half way decent but we didn’t really get to know him.
I finished this book depressed and exhausted – the outlook is seriously bleak. Essentially, it says that pretty much EVERYONE is a cheat. Personally, I like to believe that there are a few relationships out there where both partners love and respect each other and are faithful to one another. From looking at reviews, this book is well loved by a large number of readers, but it just wasn’t my cup of tea.
I received a free copy of this book for an honest review.
My rating: 2/5
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